Sergio Tapia-Fikes 18 ~ Fred (Poppy) Ziaks Memorial Scholarship
As a vocalist at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Sergio Tapia-Fikes remembers thinking “I want to be on Broadway, so I should probably begin taking dance classes.” He started taking classes at a local competition studio in late 2006 and then moved to Dallas Ballet Center, where the dance faculty was very nurturing and eager to see his growth. Sergio began learning and understanding basic concepts of ballet technique and in 2007, he began to think he wanted to cross cluster in dance/music for his sophomore year. He had only been dancing for 3 months when he auditioned for BTWHSPVA's dance department; his acceptance was very unlikely.
Sergio remembers going to the theater that spring, where he first saw the BTW repertory companies perform works by Adam Hougland, Dwight Rhoden, and Robert Battle. It was a life changing experience and after seeing the show, he decided that he didn’t just want to cross cluster— he wanted to dive into dance with complete abandon with the goal of eventually being accepted into Repertory Dance Company 1. He reached that goal, performing works by Dwight Rhoden, Robert Battle, and Larry Keigwn as a member of Repertory Dance Company 1, and he is currently completing his freshman year at the Tisch School of the Arts. He has dedicated his life to the art and plans on becoming a professional dancer.
Attending the Movement Invention Project at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC was an incredible experience. The faculty included Andrea Miller, Jill Johnson, Alexandra Wells, Shamel Pitts, Shannon Gillen, Sidra Bell, and Gabriel Forestieri, and the goal of the program was to give the students a safe environment where exploration and research of movement within our improvisation was possible. Each member of the faculty gave us different tools and tasks to aid our improvisation. Between Forsythe improvisation techniques, Gaga, and several different games/tasks we began to dive deeper into our improvisations.We also had ballet every day for two of the three weeks, where Alexandra Wells’ approach gave us a way of feeling the movement through the use of different imagery techniques similar to/drawn from Alexander Technique. The third week Gaga, Ohad Naharin’s movement language, was introduced along with a repertory class where we learned some of Batsheva’s Rep. Although the preceding weeks had contact integrated in the improvisations, the third week had more emphasis on contact improvisation.
In addition to all of this we danced without the aid of a mirror 90% of the time, which was good for helping us feel and not depend on or get caught up in what it “looked like.” Especially important in Gaga and Naharin’s approach. The third week with Shamel Pitts allowed us to use the tools we had been learning in improvisation and apply them in a repertory setting. This was extremely helpful giving us experience into how all these tools and image devices related to class and learning rep. The Movement Invention Projects approach was one that helped further my current goals as a dancer; many of the themes correlated to what I was working on. Surrounded by extremely talented dancers and inspirational faculty I learned, improved, danced, made friends, had fun, laughed, ached, etc... and for all these experiences I thank the Dance Council and I would most definitely recommend the Fred Poppy Ziaks Memorial Scholarship. Thank you for a wonderful Summer!